Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:2-5
Oh, I have so much to tell you! Young Life camp was AMAZING! Matt and I will write another post just on that because God did incredible things while we were there! But today's post is about another AMAZING thing God has done; Praise the Lord that I am officially done with chemotherapy! Oh, how the Lord has healed my body and redeemed my life from this pit of cancer, crowned me with His amazing love and compassion and satisfied my desires with such good things! How good our God is! On Tuesday, July 17th, I had my very last round of Taxol chemotherapy. Golly, it may be one of the happiest days of my life :) My sweet parents and little sister, Ryli, came down from Colorado to celebrate with us! Matt even brought McKinley to the hospital to join in on the festivities! And a celebration it was! My mom was so cute and brought all the party princess attire for me to wear. It was the same party princess attire that she wore 7 years ago when she completed chemotherapy. Although, I'm sure she never wanted to have to share that with me, it has been a special gift from God to have a mom who completely understands what this cancer journey feels like. So for many reasons, my mama was probably even more happy than I was that day; she definitely knew what a celebration it was to be done with chemotherapy. In typical Randi fashion, I wanted to bounce through the halls of Baylor Cancer center signing 'CELEBRATE Good Times!' and hugging every one of my sweet cancer nurses, doctors and friends. Although it was never an 'enjoyable' thing to have to go to Baylor to get cancer treatment, I really did love my whole team there. Every receptionist, nurse, and of course Dr. O'Shaugnessy always greeted us with big smiles and warm hugs. They all have a real special place in my heart, as I know the Lord used them every Tuesday to comfort me and remind me of His peace. God has used so many people in so many sweet ways to reflect His love and goodness. I am so blessed.
I have to admit though that the morning of my last chemotherapy I woke up feeling kind of sad. I knew it was crazy to feel that way, I should be the happiest girl in the world, but a part of me couldn't believe that this part of my journey was finally coming to an end. Since October 24th, our whole world has been cancer, it's hard to imagine life without it. As I have said before, I really do hate cancer, but I love how it has drawn me closer to Jesus than I have ever been before. (James 4:8) I love that cancer made me depend on Him in a crazy, all-in sort of way. (Colossians 1:29, John 15:5) I love that I knew in full certainty that in my moments of complete weakness, Christ was my complete strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) I love that even when I was sick and exhausted, I knew I was living the abundant life. (John 10:10) I love how God taught me that this battle was His to fight, not mine. (2 Chronicles 20:15, Matthew 11:28) I love how God used cancer to make me be still in His presence. (Psalm 46:10) I love that cancer gave me the opportunity every day to really Trust God; not just to say that I trust Him, but to live out that trust, even when I didn't understand His plans. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I love how God continues to use my bald head to show me that true beauty comes from the heart and that my identity is in Him alone. (1 Peter 3:3-4; Song of Solomon 4:7) I love how cancer has made me fall even more in love with my husband; I am eternally blessed to be loved by Matt Wideman. (1 John 4:19) I love that cancer gave me such sweet one-on-one time with my family and friends. (Proverbs 17:17, Colossians 4:5) I love that God used cancer to confirm that His plans for my life are so good, even in the middle of such pain. (Jeremiah 29:11) I love that God has used cancer to show me how to love on people going through difficult circumstances. He definitely grew my heart in compassion for hurting people. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) I love that God still allowed me to do Young Life through all of it. I have never felt more useful for His Kingdom. (2 Timothy 2:21) I love that God used cancer to teach me how much I need to pray with every breath I take. (1 Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16) I love how cancer allowed me to choose Joy every day, even when the circumstances of my life weren't conducive to it. (1 Thessalonians 5:16) I love how cancer made me realize that I have nothing to fear in Christ, that He has me exactly where He wants me. (Isaiah 43:1) I love how God used so many people to be His hands and feet in our life. (1 John 3:18; Mark 12:30-31) I have never seen more of God's love than I have through all of you over the past 9 months. Thank you. Your kindness, generosity, love, words of encouragement and prayer have meant more than you will ever know. I love that somehow in God's complete awesomeness, I can think of so many more things I love about cancer than I hate about it.
So although July 17th was a such a day to celebrate, perhaps my sadness that morning stemmed from my heart not wanting to forget all that the Lord has taught me through cancer. Don't get me wrong, I am OVERJOYED that chemotherapy is over. My hair has already started to grow back (yippee!) and my energy grows every day. I am thrilled to get back to 'normal' life being the mommy of McKinley and wifey of Matt. I am SO excited to get my chemotherapy port removed this Friday and for the final stages of my plastic surgery to happen in 7-8 weeks. There are so many reasons I am thankful that this part of the cancer journey is over, but truthfully, I am so thankful that this cancer journey happened. I really don't question at all why God allowed me to get cancer, I know he used it to make my heart more like His. He taught me more in the last 9 months about His love, His character and His beautiful promises than in the other 27 years of my life. So, I am definitely celebrating that its over, but I am also celebrating that it happened!
Friends, you are such a treasure. Thank you for walking this journey with us and for allowing God to use you to bless us so much throughout everything. Thank you for sharing in our sorrow and for celebrating our joy. I pray that whatever your 'cancer' is, you would look for how God has sprinkled His goodness all over it. That you would see God's abundant purpose amidst your pain. I can so testify that what the enemy wants to use for evil, God will use for good, if you let Him. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20 Will you let God use whatever you are going through for good? I hope so! Oh how I am praying for that!
Many friends have asked what happens now. Well, I started taking Tamoxifen, my cancer drug, this week and will take it for the next 5+ years. It is just a little pill that I take once a day. It has no nasty side effects, it just keep the icky cancer from coming back in my body. I am so thankful for the incredible brains the Lord has given the doctors who come up with this stuff! I will also be getting Lupron shots, the drug that keeps me in a medically induced menopause, every 3 months for the next 5+ years. So that means I will get to see Dr. O'Shaugnessy every 3 months from here on out, and each time I see her she will run all my blood work and look at my tumor markers etc... I think it is such a blessing that I get to be so highly monitored over the next 5 years, so if this cancer ever came back, they would find it so early. If all my labs keep coming back great, then Dr. O said that in 2 years from right now we can put a temporary halt on all my medications and try to get pregnant! Yippee! I can't wait! 2 years could not come soon enough :) As I mentioned earlier, I get my chemotherapy port removed this Friday; it's just a little day surgery, no big deal. And then in 7-8 weeks, I will have a little bit bigger surgery where I get my expanders removed and my implants put in. I am SO excited for that to happen! Well, I think that's everything! I am going to go play with my precious princess, so I hope you all have a wonderful day! We Love you!
Joyfully in HIM~